French leader faces likely NATO ire on Afghanistan

JAMEY KEATEN Associated Press Published:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- France's freshly inaugurated Socialist president, Francois Hollande (frahn-SWAH' oh-LAWND'), visits the White House on Friday and plans to announce an early pullout of all French troops from Afghanistan by year's end.

That could infuriate NATO allies and embarrass President Barack Obama and may be logistically impossible.

Hollande's predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy (sar-koh-ZEE'), worked to improve relations with the United States.

Hollande, who has little international experience, likely will face anger at a NATO summit in Chicago over his plans to pull France's 3,300 troops out of Afghanistan two years ahead of schedule.

And he will have to convince partners at the Group of Eight summit at Obama's presidential retreat, Camp David, that his stance on a European anti-austerity treaty won't send the region deeper into debt crisis.